Despite how splendidly a home is decorated, sometimes it’s the right time for a change. The good news is that change doesn’t have to be large-scale and overwhelming. Sometimes simply adding a new area rug or piece of art can freshen a room and make it seem brand new.

A coat of paint never hurts either, and changing out light fixtures is a surefire way to add visual interest and make a room “pop” like never before.

We recently had a conversation with Gail Butler, owner of Taylor House Interiors, and her two designers, Elizabeth Zachry and Lynne Davidson, and heard their suggestions on what to do to make a room new.

Color Clout

Much like foundation provides a smooth canvas to a face before more make-up is applied, a fresh coat of paint undergirds the entire look of the room. There are some fabulous new (and not-so-new) color combos gaining in popularity.

In addition to the standard greens, blues and creams that have always been popular on the coast, richer, deeper colors are moving to the forefront of the design aesthetic.

All three suggested the palette of White Dove by Benjamin Moore Paints. Its clean, crisp shades on the white-to-cream spectrum are refreshing – like sheer curtains blowing in a breeze. But, richer colors are also coming into play, including Naval, by Sherwin Williams, which is a true navy and Trade Winds from the same manufacturer.

Gail said one of the most popular color schemes is the one made up of Benjamin Moore’s Normandy, Rust and Whitestone. The Normandy is a deep blue-gray and it plays perfectly off the coppery tones of Rust and the creaminess of the Whitestone.

Another popular color combo is based on Pantone’s 2021 Colors of the Year. One of the trendiest combinations available are the Benjamin Moore colors of White Heron, a rich, off-white color; Metropolitan, a silky medium gray; and Marblehead, a vibrant gold shade.

All of these colors work well in traditional, contemporary and transitional design schemes. It’s just a matter of choosing what you like.

For the love of art

You can have the trendiest furniture, the most fabulous wall coverings and the prettiest rugs on the planet, still every room should have at least one focal point, whether it’s dramatic, understated or whimsical.

All of the Taylor House Interiors designers said that the “rule of three” is the way to go. This means grouping accessories and art, whether it’s hanging on a wall, or displayed on a table or shelf, in threes. Items don’t have to be the same, but there should be a consistent theme, and the heights of the items on display should be varied.

When it comes to hanging art, collectors can be a little bolder in how it is arranged.

“If I have a wall to decorate, I want to use different sizes,” said Lynne. “The frames need to be in the same family as does the art; the theme must be consistent, but the sizes and shapes can vary.”

Bright spots

Lighting is certainly central to a well-decorated and functional room.Chandeliers – ranging from casual to formal – often provide an interesting focal point as well as illuminate the scene. Thankfully, there is an array of materials from which to choose, from leather to oyster shells, and everything in between. It all depends upon what tone you wish to set for you and your guests.

Gail said that one of her favorite chandeliers is a leather-fringed fixture made by Jeffan. It is upscale without being pretentious, but also has a relaxed vibe that would allow it to be used in a less formal setting.

She also favors a chandelier made of oval oyster shells. Not only suitable for a living room, it can be used in a variety of locations.

“It also works well over an island or a dining table,” said Elizabeth.

Another overwhelming favorite is the Malibu chandelier by Regina Andrew. This beaded confection is available in both ivory and turquoise, and like the oyster shell chandelier, has a variety of applications. It would make a dramatic statement over a soaking tub, for instance.

Finally, Old World Designs’ Collins Tropical Leaf Chandelier is a great choice for a casual, contemporary living room. It is brass, with a cream-colored overlay that allows the metal to peek through.

Not so basic

People love indulgent fabrics like silks and linens, but along the coast – particularly if you have active people in your household – performance fabrics are the right choice. Decades ago, Sunbrella began by manufacturing patio umbrellas.

During the ensuing years they have expanded their product line to include both indoor and outdoor upholstery in a variety of fabrics and color palettes.

“The water just beads off,” said Elizabeth. “They treat the fibers before making the fabric, so it’s more durable and easier to clean.”

This is great news for families with children and dogs, or even couples who live super-active, indoor-outdoor lifestyles.

Crypton is another line of performance fabrics, as is Opti Clean.

Finishing touches

Is there anything more comforting than kicking one’s shoes off after a long day at work and burrowing one’s feet in a plush rug?

Area rugs are a great way to change-up a room without a significant investment. The Taylor House folks have some favorites, including Blue Fog and Simone by Loloi, and several designs by Jaunty and Zola by Surya.

However, it’s also good to stick with basics, like the classic jute rug.

Not only are they practical, but because of their soft fibers and thick weave, they feel cushiony underfoot. “Jute does well close to the beach,” Gail said. “It’s durable and easy to work with.”

Usually available in neutrals, some jute rugs are available with color these days.

“They’re versatile,” said Gail. “And you can’t beat them for the price, look and durability.”